Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”
What is it, do you think, that marks someone out as a “good person,” and more particularly, a “good, Godly person”? Those people that we see at church every week – are they all good, Godly people? In Jesus’ time this was a major issue. The Pharisees and other religious leaders judged people by how closely they followed the rules of scripture, of which a large number concerned what they could and couldn’t eat. Woe betide anyone who was seen eating something considered unclean by the Old Testament! This even remained a concern for the early Christian church for sometime as they sought to follow Jesus.
Jesus was clear, however, that what you eat is no indication of Godliness. In fact, as he states in today’s passage, it’s not what you put in your mouth that makes you Godly or defiles you, but what comes out of your mouth. What you say, after all, is a far better guide of the kind of person you are and the way that you live your life. The words you say can demonstrate if you’re really a Godly person. If you attend church every Sunday but constantly criticise other people, seek to bring them down, upset them and make them feel inadequate or unworthy, are you really a Christian? Are you really loving your neighbour as yourself?
If you seek to follow Christ, it should be clear to all those whom you meet and speak to. If your words mark you out as a caring, considerate and compassionate person, it’s a good indication that you are indeed seeking to love others, just as Christ did.
Why not reflect today on the words that you use? The things that you say can hurt or build up. Try today to be positive and loving with all that you say, whilst also striving to refrain from using harsh words that could hurt or offend. And remember – your words demonstrate the attitude of your heart. Do your words serve as a witness to Christ? Or do they merely demonstrate that you are a fallen individual?